Everything Everywhere's 4G launch needs to learn from mistakes made by US suppliers

Network provider or handset maker: the mobile market is the commercial battlefield where the bullets fly thickest.

It should be no news to anyone that the latest mobile offensive is the rush to provide 4G services.

This week sees high noon for 4G in the UK, as today Everything Everywhere unveils its new fourth generation brand and a rumoured partnership with Nokia. At an estimated cost of £100m, the Everything Everywhere 4G launch will be the biggest in telecoms since O2's debut back in 2002.

It presents a marketing conundrum for Everything Everywhere's agencies Saatchi & Saatchi and SapientNitro.

Just what does 4G – a complex mix of several technologies involving frequencies and microchips – mean to consumers? (I wouldn't bother Wikipedia-ing 4G; its definition carries the warning: 'This article may be too technical for readers to understand'.)

And how should the networks convince consumers that they need download speeds 10 times faster than that of 3G?

And what can the brand learn from the US, where networks including T-Mobile have advertised 4G services since 2010, using the term as a catch-all for faster downloads.

Any US lesson centres more around what not to do. The uneven patchwork of 4G coverage across the States led several providers there to mistakenly claim to provide the full service, only to be criticised for confusing, rather than convincing, consumers about its benefits.

T-Mobile dropped claims in its US advertising that it has 'America's largest 4G network'.

Even Apple has been caught out by complaints over its use of the term 4G in ads for iPad 2; it was asked by the ASA here to delete claims in its advertising that it works with 4G, because the technology is not yet widely available in the UK.

Here T-Mobile and Orange parent Everything Everywhere has, theoretically at least, early-mover advantage in defining the term, though its indecision over its component brands doesn’t augur well.

T-Mobile, for its part, will have learnt its US lesson and will doubtless avoid misleading UK consumers about 4G’s promise. 

The marketing task will be a huge test of Saatchi & Saatchi's and SapientNitro's mettle.

In the meantime, Everything Everywhere should also take a leaf out of any Apple’s launch of recent years, aside from iPad 2: concentrate less on the technical specifics and more on functional benefits.

That way Everything Everywhere may have consumers dancing in the streets once more.

Noelle McElhatton is editor of Marketing. Follow her on Twitter: @n_mcelhatton


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers